US immigration law: Dreamer detained after international flight

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program provides important protections for undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children. However, these protections only extend so far, which can be concerning for some immigrants living in Louisiana. These concerns might be amplified by the recent situation involving a flight attendant who was accused of violating U.S. immigration law.

The 28-year-old flight attendant was enrolled in the DACA program while working for Mesa Airlines. In Feb. 2019, the woman was scheduled to work on a flight to Mexico. She spoke with her employer about her concerns regarding flying to another country under her current immigration status. Her employer assured her the flight would not be an issue, and so she worked accordingly.

On the return flight, authorities accused the woman of violating the terms of DACA, which only allows international travel with special approval and documentation. However, these documents are no longer issued to DACA participants. The woman remained in custody until March 22, 2019. It is unclear what possible legal issues she might face moving forward, but multiple parties — including her employer — argued on her behalf. The CEO of Mesa Airlines advocated for his employee, saying that an administrative error by the company should not result in legal action.

U.S. immigration law is a highly complicated topic. This can be further complicated by the fact that some immigration officials sometimes seem to act inconsistently or in opposition to what seems like common sense. Undocumented immigrants currently living in Louisiana can usually speak with an experienced attorney about any issues they might be dealing with concerning their legal status or other immigration matters.